Home > MLB > Space’s Offseason Plan (or: several good ideas, which are all totally going to happen)

Space’s Offseason Plan (or: several good ideas, which are all totally going to happen)

Since my semester is winding down and my growing free time is primarily spent on naps, Once Upon A Time speculation, and lamenting the dearth of quality videogames on the market, I figured I might as well make my own version of Goog’s big ol’ offseason plan. I’m also aiming to get the team back to winning ways sooner rather than later, but with a higher value placed on keeping the core of the farm intact. Of course, I could literally advocate burning Pawtucket, Portland, and Lowell, and be more conservative than Goog, who would want to know why we didn’t nuke Salem.

I’m keeping the budget of $160 million, and using the same MLB Trade Rumors guesstimates for arbitration expenditures as well as Goog’s “$5 million for the bullpen scrap heap;” relievers are too volatile for a team with this many holes to bother spending big on, so stay the hell away from Brian Wilson, Mr. Cherington.

You may remember that we had $63 million to spend in 2013 on holes at first, shortstop, and at least one outfield spot and at least one starter. To the phones! Or however teams get in touch with agents now. Can we share our trade targets on Pinterest?

Let’s start at first. If there was any real chance of getting Youkilis to come back to Boston, particularly at the modest price tag suggested by Goog, I very well could go that route instead, but I fear the bridge is completely burned and am moving on to my next best option – a better player, but also a substantially daunting price tag.

Mike Napoli – 4 years, $48 million Fine, let’s do this. There’s a lot of hand-wringing from Sox fans about Napoli’s price tag, especially the four year bit, but I think this ought to get things done, especially as I’ve stayed at the AAV suggested by the crowdsourcing even in the added year. For the fourth year he so badly covets, Napoli should be willing to admit what most teams surely keep telling him – that he isn’t a full-time catcher. But hey, that doesn’t mean he CAN’T catch. I’d take this an opportunity to shop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, letting Napoli play first (and occasionally rest Ortiz at DH, whose graceful aging still shouldn’t be assumed) and giving David Ross plenty of time behind the plate. Nonetheless, Napoli is a guy I’ve coveted since his underrated service under Mike Scioscia, and I can’t comprehend letting him get away when the team has demonstrated it has no problem setting money on fire. That said, let’s fix the rotation!

Anibal Sanchez – 5 years, $90 million This feels like an overpay to me, and to the Fangraphs crowd. But hey, I could see it working out well enough for the first three years to make it tradeable by the time it got really bad, and on the whole, it doesn’t feel like an absolutely insane overpay. The real key is, we’ve got a guy who has put up solidly consistent numbers and isn’t obscenely old. He’s no ace, but hopefully Lester returns to being that kind of guy and lets Sanchez just bump Lackey and Doubront to the back of the rotation.

Brandon McCarthy – 3 years, $30 million I’m again blowing past the Fangraphs figure not for my ideal contract, but to hopefully establish feasibility of the plan. McCarthy is widely regarded as a huge health risk, and given his myriad injury issues even before the freak shot to the head, that seems fair. But he’s also shown himself a damn good pitcher in his Oakland renaissance, and the Sox have plenty of reason to doubt the contributions of Lackey and Doubront. I’d start the year with Doubront in the bullpen and hopefully learning something (“what is a ‘strike zone?'”) from fellow Venezuelan Sanchez, accepting that he may be a workable fifth starter if – or really when – McCarthy hits the DL. Perhaps most importantly, this acquisition allows us to…

Send Amanda McCarthy to open negotiations with the Cleveland Indians Sure, it’s gratuitous, but she can only help Chris Antonetti keep an open mind. The Sox have two holes that, aging Nick Swisher notwithstanding, I have a hard time filling on the free agent market: a corner outfielder and a shortstop. Coincidentally, Cleveland has options to fit both needs – Shin-Soo Choo (~$8M) and Asdrubal Cabrera ($6.5M). Choo doesn’t have Upton’s upside, but he also doesn’t have a contract that has a real chance of overpaying him if he fails to improve his play; at 30, improving is unlikely, but I don’t see him as a falloff risk in one year as I do the similarly-valuable Swisher over multiple years. Cabrera, meanwhile, is signed through 2014 and would give the Sox an upper-tier shortstop. Of course, the feasibility of this plan depends on just how steep a prospect price the Indians would demand; if a “major league ready starter” in Doubront would carry a lot of value despite his middling peripherals and poor track record, talks could quickly heat up for at least one of the two.

If, however, the Indians value Doubront as little as I do – or if the prospect cost is otherwise too steep for one or both players – the Sox can walk and find other options. I’m sure there are trade possibilities I haven’t even considered (Josh Willingham came up, then was dismissed as almost surely too costly to buy high), but I’ve discussed my ideal swap; now, let’s consider Plan B.

Marco Scutaro – 2 years, 20 million Sure, we dumped him for a guy with a poor career and a wildly overachieving 2012 that still only saw him in a mopup role with a .238 BABIP, but who’s to say he’s bitter? After all, the Rockies dumped him for a minor leaguer with no real future and it won Scutaro a World Series ring, so he should be thanking us, right? Yeah, I’m a bit wary of giving this money to a 37-year-old who struggled to stay healthy in 2011, but the talent is still very much there, and, well, very much not with Jose Iglesias. If Scutaro won’t take the overpay I’m making just to prove we can fill our holes for a set budget amount – or if the team is truly convinced he can no longer play away from second base – well, fine, give Stephen Drew the contract Goog offered. Again, the alternatives include Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco.

Trade for Logan Morrison The Marlins cannot be asking much for a corner OF/1B coming off a .230/.308/.399 season in which he became perceived as a clubhouse problem thanks to his tweets and was banished to New Orleans. But honestly, I can’t think of a better buy-low candidate with upside (23 HR in 2011, and is only 25 years old) to pair with Gomes in a left field platoon. With him or without him, though, the team will need:

FUNGIBLE PLATOON TYPES! Sure, the Sox could sign a Shane Victorino or Angel Pagan and hope that their speed could cover enough ground in Fenway’s right field to make it worthwhile, but that would bring us right up to my artificially-imposed budget and surely represent an overpay for questionable value. Instead, I’m willing to throw out some mix of Daniel Nava, Nate Schierholtz (non-tendered by the Phillies despite being only 29 with a history of perfectly-useful-to-have-around-ness), Jason Bay (surely not expensive, and obviously comfortable in Boston), Grady Sizemore (probably not expensive; he’s 30, didn’t play in 2012, and hasn’t been good since 2009, but who knows what memories of his early career could inspire in overeager GMs), and experiment with guys like Ryan Kalish (this experiment will fail, but I’m resigned to the team doing it) and J.C. Linares (it’s Boston; I’m okay starting the service time clock on a 28-year-old who probably won’t do anything for the chance of a flash-in-the-pan performance above replacement).  If they can work their way into contention, hopefully they’ll find a better option on the trade market as the season progresses; right now, I can’t find a better option who justifies his cost.


So there we have it: a plan to restructure the 2013 Red Sox on a reasonable budget (though as Goog noted: it’s Boston; why hamstring yourself with a reasonable budget?), keep the farm intact, AND avoid overpaying Nick Swisher to make the franchise unlikeable for the next half-decade. But hey, why have a productive winter when you can overpay Cody Ross and Brian Wilson, give a starting gig to a batless shortstop, and trust that Felix Doubront will pitch better than a 2012 that was beyond any realistic expectations based on his career?

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  1. December 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM

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